The Montreal Canadiens have shocked everyone with two wins in Winnipeg after a hard-fought series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Canadiens are up 2-0 in the series and will return to Montreal for the next two games with the ability to possibly end the series in four games or at least put the series out of reach. The Jets meanwhile are desperate for a win as they need to even the series with the Canadiens taking control of the series to this point.
Jets offense has struggledThe Winnipeg Jets offense carried them in the First Round against the Edmonton Oilers, constantly finding open skaters and piling on the goals. In the series against the Canadiens, they've hit a wall, scoring only three goals thus far and being shut out in Game Two. While Kyle Connor has scored three goals in the playoffs thus far, the rest of the unit has struggled and will only worsen with top-line scorer Mark Scheifele, who 21 goals in the regular season, being suspended for the next three games for a brutal hit he delivered in the Game One.
While the offense has struggled the defense has stepped up in the series, keeping the Jets in games and playing well in both the defensive zone and in the neutral zone. Derek Forbort and Neal Pionk have been able to create turnovers and force difficult puck movement at the blue line but will have to be more effective at the point to help put the Jets offense over the top. To put the unit over the top, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck has been incredible, saving .940 percent of shots and allowing only 1.8 goals per game to keep the Jets competitive in all their playoff games.
Canadiens have been led by dominance in the netThe Montreal Canadiens have been led by a great defense in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but world-class goaltending in particular from Carey Price. Price led the Canadiens to the series victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and has now helped the Canadiens win the first two games of the Second Round series, including a 30 save shutout in the recent 1-0 victory. Aside from Price, who has saved .935 percent of shots in the playoffs and is allowing 2 goals per game, the team has received excellent defense from Jeff Petry and Joel Edmunson, who have been able to create turnovers in the defensive zone while also providing a scoring presence from the point.
While the defense has been phenomenal, the offense has been inconsistent, piling on the goals in some games while barely finding the back of the net in others. The hope is that the young line can continue to lead the way with Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Nick Suzuki, and Cole Caufield providing the energy on the ice and combining for 7 goals in the playoffs thus far. Moreover, Tyler Toffoli, who led the team in goals this season with 28, only has 3 in the playoffs and can provide the boost to the top line.